Turkey's Erdogan calls on U.S. to hand over top Kurdish commander

Mazloum Kobani Abdi, President Trump and President Erdogan. Photos: Delil Souleiman/AFP; Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post; Oliver Bunic/AFP via Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told state TV on Thursday that the U.S. should hand over Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazloum Kobani Abdi, calling him a "wanted terrorist" with an Interpol red notice.

Why it matters: Abdi led the primarily Kurdish SDF in the U.S.-backed fight against ISIS, where more than 10,000 of his fighters were killed. Erdogan views the Kurds who fight with the SDF as an extension of the PKK, a terrorist organization that has sought to gain Kurdish autonomy inside Turkey for decades. On Thursday, President Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Abdi and that the Kurdish leader "appreciates what we have done," despite criticism that the U.S. exit from northern Syria cleared the way for Turkey to attack the Kurds.

  • After Trump announced Wednesday that the Turks and the Kurds had reached a "permanent ceasefire," a group of bipartisan senators led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to expedite a visa for Abdi to visit the U.S.
  • Erdogan himself is scheduled to visit the White House on Nov. 13. The Turkish president told state TV that his justice minister will file the appropriate paperwork to request the U.S. hand over Abdi.

Go deeper: Russia and Turkey capitalize on America's Syria exit

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

African countries collectively surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases this week.

Why it matters: Health experts believe the true number of COVID-19 cases in African countries is higher than that figure due to a lack of testing and fear that undetected cases could overload some of the world’s weakest health systems.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 19,193,661 — Total deaths: 716,735 — Total recoveries — 11,611,029Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 4,918,927 — Total deaths: 160,737 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Trump's swift, sweeping China offensive

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's rhetoric on China has tended to run hotter than his actions — until now.

Why it matters: Even at the height of Trump's trade war, his administration never hit China as hard, as fast, and on as many fronts as it is right now.

Counterintelligence chief: Russia aiming to “denigrate” Biden ahead of election

William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, before Congress in 2018. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate former Vice President Biden" before the November election.

Why it matters: Evanina warned that some Kremlin-linked actors are trying to support President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television, while others are spreading false claims about corruption to undermine Biden and the Democratic Party.

Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases

A health worker in Nigeria checks students' temperatures on August 4. Photo: Pius Utomi Ekepei/AFP via Getty Images

African countries collectively surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases this week, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Why it matters: Some health experts believe that the true number of COVID-19 cases among African countries is higher than that figure due to a lack of testing, and fear that undetected cases could overload some of the world’s weakest health systems, according to AP.

U.S. sanctions Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam

Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

The Treasury Department on Friday placed sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, following months of tension as she has allowed continued overreach by Beijing to subvert Hong Kong's autonomy.

Why it matters: It's the toughest sanction yet imposed on China for its destruction of Hong Kong’s relatively free political system.

Trump's TikTok and WeChat actions ratchet up the pressure on China

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump escalated his campaign to claw apart the Chinese and American tech worlds Thursday evening, issuing executive orders that threaten to ban both TikTok and massive global messaging app WeChat.

The big picture: Trump's orders come against a backdrop of heightening tension with China, the steady unfolding of a hard "decoupling" between the world's two largest economies, and the Trump campaign's effort to wave a "tough on China" banner.

TikTok responds to Trump executive order: "We are shocked"

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

TikTok said Friday that it was "shocked" by President Trump's executive order that will ban Americans from dealing with ByteDance, its China-based owner, in 45 days.

Why it matters: TikTok argued that Trump's move "risks undermining global businesses' trust in the United States' commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth."

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